Now is the time that we must pay attention to our emotional well-being and the well-being of those we love as we cope with the challenges of the COVID-19 pandemic. This isn’t an option – it’s a necessity. Just as washing our hands, disinfecting surfaces and maintaining physical distance is required to minimize the impact of this pandemic, so too is caring for our mental health and the mental health of those around us. In response to this emergency, we need a fundamental shift in how we promote and maintain our mental health.
Fortunately, there is reason to be optimistic. There is more openness and more sharing – but at this time during this crisis we need to actively engage in behaviors that will enhance our overall functioning, protect the emotional health of kids, and support the mental health of those who are struggling.
Here are key steps to take:
Recognize the importance of your own psychological well-being.
Do your own psychological assessment regularly. If you need them, there are self-assessment tools online. Do your research and look for tools that are recommended by reputable sources.
If you are in therapy or counseling – continue by phone, telehealth platform or text. The additional support will be helpful for you and your family.
Please talk to your kids. They are dealing with this crisis and your support can have a positive effect on the long-term impact it will have. You don’t need to have all of the answers – listening and talking to kids in age appropriate ways can be extremely helpful. There are many resources online for additional information.
Remember to connect with family, friends, neighbors and others to both ask for and provide support. There are many creative ways to communicate while maintaining physical distancing including using the phone, email, texts messaging and video calls.
Share how you’re doing, what works for you, what doesn’t – with family, friends, neighbors (while maintaining physical distancing).
Please reach out to those who are struggling.
If you are worried about harming yourself or are having worsening thoughts of suicide, including making a plan, call 1-800-273-8255 or text 838255.
If we all step into this challenge, we will limit emotional suffering, save lives and lay the foundation for a mentally healthier nation going forward.